Tendulkar Closes MRF Innings after Decade at Crease
Indian cricketing icon, Sachin Tendulkar has left the MRF dressing room, following ten years with the tyre-maker and sports equipment manufacturer. During this time, Tendulkar spent weeks at the crease, helping spread brand awareness by carrying MRF’s logo on the front of his perfectly straight bat. The Little Master will now promote equipment for Adidas, while relative – though impressive – new-boy Gautam Gambhir steps into the Sachin-shaped hole with MRF.
Pirelli Tyre has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with Hixih Group to build a new filter plant in Yanzhou Shandong province. The new plant will be located near its existing tyre plants that were jointly established by the two companies. Construction for the new 50 million euro plant is expected to start in the first quarter of 2010. (Tire Review)
Federal and Hero Tires Launch New HA Oil-Free Technology
With an ever-growing awareness of the ecological climate, as well as a new precedent currently being set for economical measures introduced specifically for levies on manufacturers of tyres in the Far East, those wishing to import tyres to Europe and the USA need show an awareness of current regulations governing the properties of their products. This has not passed Federal Corporation by: “In an effort to contribute to the conservation of the environment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to a safer and greener society,” Federal announces it is “to phase out use of the PAH rich extender oils by shifting all categories of tire segments to HA oil free tires following the REACH regulations.” The implementation of the environmental initiative, the company continues, is in compliance with EU directives concerning the tyre industry and is clearly designed to show how the Far East is by no means standing still when it comes to the use of new technologies to meet EU regulations.
Looking to capture 5 per cent of Thailand’s tyre market within three years, Continental AG opened its first official sales office in Bangkok. “Within the next two, three years we hope to have captured 5 per cent of Thailand's tyre market, and within five years we will be among the top five brands here,” stated Benoit Henry, vice president of marketing for Continental’s Asia-Pacific region. Thailand has a local market of about six million tyres per year. Continental currently has two tyre plants in Malaysia that can service Thailand, but Continental may consider building a local plant there. (Tire Review)
Shares Fluctuate Sharply Following Obama’s China Tyre Tariffs
The Obama administration’s announcement that it is to impose tariffs of up to 35 per cent on Chinese-manufactured imports had a large impact on daily trading in the USA and Seoul, as Goodyear and Cooper shares bumped, and Hankook stock floundered.
President Barack Obama’s decision to apply a 35 per cent import duty on all passenger car and light truck tyres from China for a period of three years may have been intended to “remedy market disruption caused by a surge in [Chinese] tyre imports” into the US, but it has also provoked a sharp response from the Chinese ministry of commerce and played havoc with the share prices of Far Eastern tyre manufacturers. China’s state media said the US import duties would cost 100,000 jobs and $1 billion (£600 million).
Announcing the decision (on Friday 11 September 2009), the White House explained that the 35 per cent ad valorem levy would be placed in addition to the existing 4 per cent import duty on imports of Chinese-product passenger car and light truck tyres. The duty will reduce to 30 per cent ad valorem in the second year, and 25 per cent ad valorem the third year. The US International Trade Commission had recommended a 55 per cent tariff in the first year, 45 per cent in the second year and 35 per cent in the third year.
A Texas jury returned a $12 million judgment against Michelin North America, finding that a manufacturing flaw “substantially contributed” to a 31 December 2006 crash that killed six and left a 12-year-old boy paralyzed. The Willacy County, Texas, jury awarded the plaintiffs $11.96 million, ruling that a BFGoodrich brand tire failed due to manufacturing errors, causing the 2002 Ford F-250 pickup truck the victims were riding in to swerve into oncoming traffic and crash head-on into a Chevrolet Suburban. “The jury found that broken air conditioners and leaky roofs cause moisture to get on tires, which led to this tread- belt separation,” Mikal Watts, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “We are grateful the jury saw the evidence as it was. There was a manufacturing defect in this tire, and Michelin needed to pay for the damage it caused.” (Tire Review)
Kumho Tire USA Corp. has taken a $151 million credit line, arranged by GE Capital Corporate Finance. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based tyre company plans to use the line for working capital. GE Capital has worked with Kumho since 2006.
The Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Commerce has imposed an additional tax of US$ 0.75 on each kilo of tyres imported from China. The decision was taken, says the CFC, as an anti-dumping measure to protect domestic markets and the new tax will come into force immediately. However, it could have been worse; at the same meeting the CFC also imposed a levy of US$ 12.47 on each pair of shoes imported from China.
Russian tyre manufacturers appear to have been offering significant discounts in the first half of 2009 with unit export figures falling far slower than export values. The latest data compiled by the Russian Discovery Research Group Russian tyre shows exports totalled 3,259,440 in the first half of 2009, down from 3,566,469 in the first half of 2008 (-8.6 per cent). Passenger-car tyre exports fell 7.1 per cent in the period, with truck tyre exports down 14.9 per cent. However, exports of light truck tyres countered the trend by growing 40 per cent.
Bridgestone recently launched its B250 tyre in the Middle East. According to publicity material released to coincide with the launch, the B250 promises “comfortable, low-noise journey, achieves better braking, regardless of the climate, and high level of running turning, which eventually guarantees travelling in comfort and safety with extended durability.”
Kumho: Vietnam Plant Sale Reports “Completely Wrong”
Kumho Europe representatives have quashed rumours that the South Korean tyre manufacturer is negotiating with Bridgestone over the sale of its new Vietnam factory. Wi Yun, Kumho Europe’s marketing manager, told Tyres & Accessories the suggestions published by Jaccar Investment are “a completely wrong statement.” Dismissing the report as “rumours” Wi added: “There have never been any negotiations nor discussion concerning this matter.”
New Zealand to Consider Winter-Regular Tyre Mix Ban
New Zealand could become the first country to ban the use of winter and regular tyres on a single vehicle by as early as 2010 when its government considers a change in the rules proposed by the Transport Agency.
Transense has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Qingdao Mesnac Co. Ltd, the parent company of the Sailun brand’s tyre manufacturing division. According to an official statement, Transense and Mesnac have entered into an agreement to combine their individual areas of expertise, for the purpose of developing Transense's patented tyre pressure monitoring sensor technology for the attachment or embedding of these sensors into tyres. Under the terms of the agreement Mesnac have agreed to an initial upfront payment and will pay additional sums for technology transfer/engineering support on an as required basis. Transense shares rose 17 per cent following the news.
During the first half of the year Chinese market sales of Cooper Tire & Rubber’s passenger car tyres increased 40 per cent, beating the company’s own 34 per cent target. Truck and bus tyre sales, which account for 65 per cent of Cooper’s China business, grew by double digits in the first half.